The challenge of the transition in sports

As another school year begins, student-athletes are entering junior high and high school classrooms for the first time; it seems appropriate to point out some of the differences that they will find in the months (and years) ahead.

Compared to elementary school, and even junior high, the transition into young adulthood can be challenging for any player.

For example—several of the pitchers I coach will enter high school this year, and will experience softball different than what they were used to at the rec, and travel ball levels.

For other players, this may be the first time they’ve been coached by someone other than mom or dad.

Depending on where they go to school, the level of competition might also be higher than what they are used to facing. They may have to tryout, and “make the team” for the fist time in their playing careers.

Some of the older ball players who where once icons on the field now compete with them for the same positions. Note: if you are a pitcher, you have to have the confidence (and ability) to lead a team of girls older than you.

For many of the girls I coach, playing high school ball has been a long-term goal for several years. Further, now is the time for those desires to be tested as underclassmen compete against girls three-to-four years older than them.

Also, high school practices are usually two-to-three hours a day, five-to-six days a week. This is vastly different than travel/rec ball.

A player must be organized (homework, social life, etc.), and have her priorities in order if she is going to be a successful student-athlete.

Finally, many highly skilled players will ultimately fall short in the high school-to-college transition because they lack the self-discipline to adjust to these basic challenges.

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